Life-Saving Braking Systems Becoming Standard in U.S.

By: Ryan Gallagher January 9, 2018
Vehicles are increasingly coming with automatic braking systems, a technology researchers say could save thousands of lives.
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At an increasing rate, cars are becoming safer and smarter than their drivers. With this surge in vehicle intelligence, carmakers installing automatic braking systems could produce safer road conditions countrywide.

In 2012 nearly 33% of all vehicle crashes involved a rear-end collision. That meant there were 1.7 million rear-end crashes resulting in 1,700 deaths in the United States, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

However, automated emergency braking (AEB) systems could drastically reduce these numbers. The burgeoning technology automatically stops a vehicle if front-end sensors perceive it approaching another object without braking.

As AEB systems become more standardized, it’s estimated that 80% of rear-end crashes—amounting to 28,000 accidents and 12,000 injuries—will be prevented by 2025, reports the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

“Research shows that front-crash prevention systems, particularly those that can brake automatically, are significantly reducing front-into-rear crashes,” said Russ Rader of the IIHS.

Currently, four in every 20 carmakers report that the assisted braking systems come standard with more than half of their 2017 model year cars.

Additionally, 20 car manufacturers have pledged to offer AEB systems for all new passenger vehicles by September 2022. Currently, Toyota Motors is manufacturing the largest number of vehicles with standard AEB (56% of 2017 vehicles), with General Motors coming in second (20% of 2017 vehicles).

“Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is pleased to see that automakers are steadily moving toward the shared goal of putting standard AEB into every new car they sell,” said David Zuby, executive vice president and chief research officer for IIHS. “This is a big win for safety on our nation’s roads, which will see fewer crashes and injuries because of this commitment.”

While automobile manufacturers continue to make a voluntary commitment to installing the new braking systems and improving driver safety, more work is still necessary.

“Consumer Reports analysis indicates that only 19% of 2017 models included these lifesaving technologies as standard features,” said David Friedman, director of cars, product policy, and analysis at Consumers Union. “Automakers, safety groups and the government should also work together to make highway operation and pedestrian detection standard features on all AEB systems.”

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